This year Christmas is a bit different for us. It is our first Christmas with my husband deployed. It is my first Christmas that I’ve been on a budget. EEK!
A few months ago I left my full time job so I could spend more time with our baby and maybe actually do something I enjoyed. I am working part time for my dad’s Granite and Marble company (and loving it), but my income is almost half of what it was before, since I went from full time to part time. I made the decision to leave my old job knowing that my income would be less, it is a trade off that I am ok with because more time with my son outweighs the rest.
So this Christmas, I am not buying gifts. Well, not exactly anyway. I am creating homemade gifts for the gifts I am giving-for the most part. I will have to buy a few things; we are buying a few things for our toddler, mainly because I don’t know how to make a tractor scooter thingy. My husband and I aren’t purchasing gifts for each other, him coming home in a few months is our gift to each other…that and paying his Camaro off this week (woohoo!). I love how it feels to pay off a debt; it means we are one step closer to our goal of being fully debt free.
Cutting way back on the gifts this year is something I am totally fine with. It is allowing us to focus on what truly matters to us this Christmas: each other. I am beyond content with the trade off of having to budget and really cut back on our expenses to not have to miss family time. When I worked full time I always missed out on getting together with my sisters and mom to bake something or to plan who is making what over a cup of coffee (or three). I missed visiting with my brother and his family when they were in for the holidays because I was at work. I am tickled that I get to spend the most important thing this year: time with family! It’s really tough that my husband won’t be here this year to enjoy it with us, but I am so thankful that he will be home soon.
Over the past year my priorities have shifted majorly. Right before we had our son, I bought a brand new vehicle, we moved into a newer, bigger, more expensive house. I was very concerned about having “things”. Keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak. Over the past few months, I found myself wishing we were still in that small, more affordable house and that I still had the car I had 4 or 5 cars ago—the one that I didn’t pay an arm and a leg for. I’ve realized what is important, to me anyway. My family and my time with my family, becoming debt free, minimizing stuff and clutter, and living the healthiest & happiest life I possibly can-and providing that kind of life for my family to the best of my ability.
So this holiday season, I get to focus on those things and not worry about what I still have to buy for whoever, what appearances I have to keep up for whatever reason. It is such a freeing feeling, why didn’t I do this sooner?
I made a calendar for December (yeah I know it’s already the 2nd) and gift budget tracker to help keep me on track with holiday spending. I plan to keep the expenses to a minimum and maximize family time. Christmas isn’t about buying “stuff”. I honestly don’t remember what gifts I got for Christmas over the years, but I do remember the memories I made with the people I spent the holidays with. Experiences are worth so much more than stuff. So if you’d like to use the Christmas Budget Tracker and/or the December calendar, click on the links to download them.
Click here for the calendar.
Click here for the gift budget tracker.
Credit for elements used on the freebies:
Wreath border garland from Puresweetjoy.com. http://www.puresweetjoy.com/circle-garland-borders-free-download/
Laurel from Designs by Miss Mandee: http://www.designsbymissmandee.com/2014/08/free-laurel-wreath-graphics/
“Christmas on Crack” font- Parallax, are (c)1999-2001 David C. Lovelace